January 4, 2007

Don't squick Oprah!

Let me just transcribe Oprah's intro to her show today:
I'm very particular about where I bathe, you know, and the soaps, and I mean, 'cause there are a lot of people that don't change their soaps when you come to their house, and so if you go in there and if you're one of them, and you go into their house and you go to bathe and there're teeny tiny hairs on them that don't belong to you. Yleh, I hate that. So I was spending that night at a friend's... uh... relative's house, okay, and the pillow, the pillow, the pillow... I don't know if things were growing in that pillow or had they made a home in that pillow, so actually, I came back and I was talking about, when was the last time that pillow was changed? And I actually called them back and said, when is the last time you changed that pillow? 30 years. How can you sleep on the same pillow for 30 years?

ADDED: Okay, I watched this show so you don't have to. Do I watch "Oprah"? No. I set the TiVo to record it a while back when Madonna was on, and it's been collecting things, like the way your disgusting pillow has been collecting dust mites. But for some reason, I clicked on today's show. I'm not simulblogging this. Let me just say that if you've got kids with stuffed animals, you should be vacuuming those toys at least once a week.... .... .... yeah, I thought so. Forget about it. Who cares? There are bacteria and other microscopic things everywhere. Forget about it! If you try to kill them, you'll only leave the nastiest ones to take over. Get on with your life! This was a show about ooh-icky! You've got better things to do with your life.

YET MORE: Oddly, part of this show was about women who let their hair grow very long. In the intro, Oprah threw in the question, "How often do you cut your hair?" The question wasn't how often do you wash your hair, but simply letting your hair grow long was treated as if it were another squicky thing. Then it turned out that they had about six women on the show who hadn't cut their hair in many years, including one who had never cut her hair. There was nothing dirty about these women. In fact, they were coming forward to get their hair cut to donate their hair for wigs for young girls who had gone bald. This subject really had nothing to do with the other, but Oprah just combined the two topics as if they were related.

The long-haired women didn't complain, of course, They were on Oprah, and they got makeovers. In the end, they came out showing off their haircuts, with Oprah exclaiming about how much better they looked. They all acted thrilled as if they had discovered how deluded they'd been. They'd been dressed up in new clothes, and they twirled around looking delighted as we heard Oprah name the various department stores that had provided the garish duds. Oprah told us they looked just great, updated. But I thought they all had looked lovely in jeans and long-sleeved tops and with hair hanging well below their waists. Yet there was Oprah telling us what to think, and she never said they'd made a sacrifice for the purpose of helping others. These were just deluded women who let their hair grow, to go along with that woman who used the same sponge for a year.

A little girl wearing one of those real-hair wigs was sent up for Oprah to embrace in the closing moments of the show, and we were left to wonder how many dust mites were in that wig, how often should you throw out your wig, and why is Oprah willing to have that thing right next to her.


MadisonMan said...

The slate Crying Soldier today was next to a link asking the question: What happens when soap is dirty? Oprah should read the link.

But a 30-year old pillow does give one cause to be grossed out.

joewxman said...

My wife and i are 22 years on the same mattress so who am i to judge!

Jennifer said...

Harsh! Guess who won't be inviting a certain someone over to their house again.

To their credit, *they* aren't sleeping on the same pillow for 30 years. They just want their guests to. :)

S.T. Steiner said...

I'm so glad that we got a life-time supply of pillows and duvets for us and for our guests. We bought on sale and in bulk.

Why would anyone buy bulk on everything for the home, groceries, toiletries, but not pillows and duvets. I wholeheartedly agree with Beloved Oprah. She's truly on top of things.

Oh, how I yearn for internet tv.


Anonymous said...

This is why it's essential to have liquid soaps in the shower. You never have to wonder where that bar's been.

Anonymous said...

I had a biology instructor who once mentioned in class that a mattress that takes one person to carry into a house takes two people to carry out of the house years later, due to the accumulation of dead skin, dust mites, etc.

And how did he know? It had nothing to do with being a biology instructor. He had at one time been a mattress salesman and he told us that that was part of his well-oiled sales pitch-- and it often was the deal-clincher.

LoafingOaf said...

chuck b. said...
This is why it's essential to have liquid soaps in the shower. You never have to wonder where that bar's been.

Just the other day Slate's Explainer answered a question about dirty bars of soap. Apparently even if there's E Coli put on soap it's okay, because the soap gets cleaned while you're cleaning yourself with it.

I hope Oprah isn't becoming like Howard Hughes.

Anonymous said...

Some other facts:

Over the course of your life, you will swallow several insects or spiders that crawl into your mouth while you are sleeping.

You will be bitten while you are sleeping by thousands of creatures, some of which will leave itches or bruises which you won't know how they got there or you will dismiss as mosquito bites (though in fact, many-- though not all-- of them will in fact be mosquitos).

You will roll on and crush, and roll around in the guts of several of the less fortunate creatures who are attempting to bite you.

PatCA said...

I've seen that show. I think all this kitchen/germ hysteria is fueled by soap makers. Suddenly, we have antibacterial soaps when an ordinary good soap will kill most all dangerous germs.

class-factotum said...

I was appalled when my friend Anita's 15-month-old daughter tossed her pacifer to the restaurant floor and Anita brushed it off and handed it back to Michelle.

"That's filthy!" I said.

"She has to build her immune system somehow," Anita shrugged.

That was 16 years ago. Michelle has been healthy and gorgeous her entire life.

downtownlad said...

I'm sorry but that is disgusting.

Is it really that hard to tell your cleaning lady to wash the sheets in the guest bedroom???

Cat said...

Shows like this and stories in the NYTimes about bed bugs freak me out. I was watching "I shouldn't be alive," and this guy in the amazon was attacked by ants...I nearly puked and had to turn it off.

class-factotem -

you remind me of two friends who are the polar opposites in the germ war. One friend of mine insulted me when, after spending the day with her son, she whisked him inside once we were home to scrub her hands. I said, you don't think I have been doing that on and off all day today, especially after he had his hands on the windowsill of the train (which was so gross)? See, I'm not a mother, I "wouldn't know that hands need to be washed," or do it well.

Another friend, a biologist from India would say, "let them get sick - it builds the immune system."

Anonymous said...

My wife just announced to me this evening -- triumphantly! -- that a recent scientific test has proved there is no such thing as the "five-second rule." I asked her, "How many seconds?" None!

Damn! My son and I are screwed!

Joe Baby said...

Not surprising that inviting Oprah into your home doesn't prevent her from complaining to the management.

Pogo said...

There's dirt and then there's dirt. The Oprah pillow story is pretty gross, but, meh. It's not really a health threat, just disgusting.

And it's quite likely we're causing our own allergy problems by avoiding exposures, so I don't worry about this all that much (I'm the anti-Howie Mandel).

But people do need to change the sheets. I'm all for a robust immune system, but I don't want to sleep in a barn.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I've slept on 20 year old pillows - at my grandparents' or elsewhere. Especially if it's a guest room, and linens are changed for each guest, and it's not being used every night... then they can probably last several years.

These shows are why I hate Oprah. Some of the celebrity stuff can be interesting, because gossip is my secret sin. But I catch one of these shows or some relationship "help" from the likes of Dr Phil, and I just hate it.

"How can you hate Oprah?" I've been asked.

It's pretty easy, actually. You just need a little perspective.

Anonymous said...

Not the hairs in the soap again! Oprah has discussed this before. This is why she always provides her guests new soaps.

Yes, I fear she is becoming the new Howard Hughes.

J. Peden said...

Forget cleaning everything: we don't want to create any more endangered species, do we?

Ann Althouse said...

Why would you need to wonder where the soap in the shower has been? Don't you know? It would be worse to think that the individuals who shower in your house skip the parts you'd worry about the soap touching. That said, I never buy bars of soap. But being grossed out by it isn't the reason. It's that it's too drying.

Pogo said...

Re: "A little girl wearing one of those real-hair wigs was sent up for Oprah to embrace..."

The addenda were hilarious.
A real mix of St. Oprah and her doppleganger EgoLicious (Feed Me, Gayle!).

She's perhaps just a few electoral votes shy of putting her face on posters up all over town, and having the Oprah Police inspect beds and bathrooms everywhere.

"Ick!" cries the Red Queen, "Off with her head. But save the hair, and bring up a bald kid for me to hug. Now!"

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

There are germs you should worry about, and germs you should not. I was working in back-country Peru at the peak of the early-'90s cholera epidemic. That was Sendero Luminoso [brutal guerrillas] time as well.

That particular strain of cholera killed in about 12 hours and there were dead bodies all over the place in the middle of rainy season. Simply taking off your boots at night could be life threatening, but if you didn't let your feet dry out 'jungle rot' was a near certainty and then the nasty microbes all would have direct access to your bloodstream.

Those were germs to worry about. So is malaria. So is chagas. So is HIV. When Oprah starts denouncing as "really yucky" the behaviours facilitating HIV transmission -- as opposed to some dust mites, or the odd 'short & curly' on some soap -- she'll have credibility.

Until then she's just an inconsistent, up-tight prissy, no matter how big her audience.

Sissy Willis said...

Hothouse flowers wither in the noonday sun. As the NYT reported a few months back re relevant rat studies:

"Gritty rats and mice living in sewers and farms seem to have healthier immune systems than their squeaky clean cousins that frolic in cushy antiseptic labs, two studies indicate."

How now! A rat?

Shanna said...

This is why it's essential to have liquid soaps in the shower. You never have to wonder where that bar's been.

I always use liquid soaps, but it's just because I like them better. Plus soap gets all little and gooey and weird and it slips...

Just the other day Slate's Explainer answered a question about dirty bars of soap. Apparently even if there's E Coli put on soap it's okay, because the soap gets cleaned while you're cleaning yourself with it.


I kind of agree with Oprah that it’s bad form not to wash your guest bedroom pillows and sheets before someone sleeps over, if that’s what she was saying. Even though a guest bedroom doesn’t get used all that often, 30 years would probably gross me out too.

Suddenly, we have antibacterial soaps when an ordinary good soap will kill most all dangerous germs.

You are not supposed to use anti bacterial soaps in your own home. That’s why the superbug will kill us all!

Anonymous said...

JohnStodder: don't worry too much about the recent revocation of the 5-second rule. That was on "MythBusters", an absolutely fabulous show on Discovery, where a couple of guys set about attempting to prove or disprove common aphorisms (a rolling stone gathers no moss?) or urban legends.

I saw the 5-second rule episode and was disappointed in the experimental design they used. The most significant thing they did was create germ-infested surfaces to drop things on! If you drop something on something you know to damp and germy (say, a puddle) are you really going to eat it? I'd say not.

One part of the show was truly hysterical -- they went around swabbing all sorts of surfaces and then culturing the results. True to urban legend, they found that the toilet seat (the part you actually sit on, not the lid) culture grew the fewest germs, leading to the conclusion that the toilet seat is one of the cleanest places in the house.

I tell my kids: germs live on wet things. If they drop a cookie on the floor -- at home -- I'm perfectly OK with brushing it off and letting them eat it. Anywhere else, no way. But generally, if you drop a dry thing onto a dry surface, chances are it's not going to pick up any germs. Cheryl Mendelson's book "Home Comforts" gives excellent, practical advice on how to clean, and one thing she stresses is keeping things dry.

I'm confused about all that supposed accumulation in the mattresses -- don't people use mattress covers and launder them?

Regarding ancient pillows: I recently had the pleasure of disposing of several at an aged relative's house during a general clean-up, along with 50 years' worth of decaying bed linens that had been sitting in a slightly damp closet. Rarely has a day's work ever yeilded so much satisfaction.

mikeski said...

Actually, I hope Oprah does become the new Hughes.

Then we'll get all the stories about her holed up in her hermetically sealed life chamber, with its sterile pillows and brand-new soaps, walkign arounf with Kleenex boxes on her feet and saving jars of her urine.

Maybe Gayle's, to.

Joe Baby said...

I should have been clear in my first post: the problem isn't that Oprah is become a germ-freak, it's that she's an a-hole.

Anonymous said...

There is always something. Brains do not work properly. If they were computers, we would take them back for one that is not broken.

So it seems Oprah is a bit of a germ phobe. Cool with me, she will just waste some time cleaning or avoiding, no biggie. Imagine if she were dedicated to African colonization of the West or something more dangerous. With her money, she could raise an army to take over the continent of Africa I bet. So let her worry about germs.


Anonymous said...

I'd sleep with a 30 year old pillow before I would sleep with Oprah, FWIW.

Roger Sweeny said...

and we were left to wonder how many dust mites were in that wig, how often should you throw out your wig, and why is Oprah willing to have that thing right next to her.


Maxine Weiss said...

I love long hair. Long hair and jeans.....but with hose.

My thing is hosiery. It can really dress up a pair of jeans.

You need to goof on Oprah more often.

Someone should tell her, there's more germs in her Gulfstream Jet than there are on an unwashed pillow.

She'd better abandon the Harpo Studios. All that heavy equipment, lights, and machines generate immense heat (Chicago in Winter) which generates a flurry of germs flying right at Oprah on the set.

I don't think she can tape the show anymore in an environment of such contagion.

Put her in a glass bubble...it's the only way she'll be safe. Society will be free of her too.

Peace, Maxine

Maxine Weiss said...

You need a to come in contact with a certain amount of germs to build your immunity.

People who never come in contact with a single germ (if that's even possible) are far more at risk than those who just have everyday, normal exposure.

Peace, Maxine

TopCat said...

If Oprah had asked any man (probably none in the audience_ she would have gotten an opposite opinion on whether women should cut their hair. Every straight man I know loves long hair - its very feminine.